Five fundamental facts about Berkeley-Haas
From time to time I thought it might be fun to dedicate this column to facts about Haas that may be new to many of our readers. The five I cover here are all fundamental to who we are as a school, and how far we have come together.
As always, I and the rest of your Haas community remain grateful for your ongoing support and encouragement. There is no limit to our upside together.
Rich Lyons, BS 82
MBA students envision novel partnerships for Nike, SAP, and more
Lauren Kalette, Ryan Bogert, Aquila Hussain, all MBA 15, perform a skit to explain their Nike fitness app that syncs in a Ford car.
Second-year students in the Evening & Weekend Berkeley MBA Program spent a weekend in January working with executives from seven top companies to create co-innovation partnerships among seemingly unlikely bedfellows.
Teams of students worked with executives from Citi, Ford, Kaiser Permanente, Nike, Panasonic, SAP, and Verizon as part of the program’s annual Mid-Program Academic Review (MPAR) course. Rather than simply focusing on one company, each team was challenged to find opportunities for two partners to innovate together.
“It was so much fun,” says Aquila Hussain, MBA 15, whose Nike-Ford team was chosen by Nike for having the best idea and best storytelling. Her team created a playful skit to illustrate the idea of a virtual trainer app that Ford could sync in cars to motivate drivers to stop at the gym after work.
Alex Kinnebrew, director of innovation at Citi Ventures, found a suggested partnership between Citi and Nike particularly intriguing. Students proposed creating a virtual allowance for children with a simple Web interface that would allow parents to reward active, healthy behavior. Says Kinnebrew, “It’s really exciting for the partners and the students to realize that this process does in fact produce very meaningful results.”
San Quentin inmates tap MBA students for expansion advice
Twice a month last semester, five Berkeley MBA students went to prison. With security clearances and careful shepherding, the students helped inmates develop a plan to enable California’s only prison-based newspaper, the San Quentin News, expand distribution to all of the state’s inmates.
Their project was one of the most unusual ones in Haas’ experiential learning course Social Sector Solutions for Social Enterprises. The course gives students hands-on management consulting training with social enterprises.
The San Quentin team recommended increasing revenue through grants and donor-subscribers from the outside and strengthening the paper’s brand identity within the system. They also provided guidance on how to better organize the business and printing operations.
“Like many inmates, those on the newspaper team have had a lot of time to reflect on their actions, their lives, and their need for healing,” says Jon Spurlock, MBA 15. “They’re a talented, intelligent group of guys who want to improve themselves and make a difference in the lives of others in the system.”
Students fan across the country for financial engineering internships
Hands-on training, support from alumni, and exposure to new fields of finance are among the many experiences that financial engineering students gained in internships that wrapped up in January.
“I was surprised to find how strong the Berkeley MFE network is in New York,” says Kate Matrosova, MFE 14, who rotated through three different departments at BNP Paribas in Manhattan. “In each department there was an alumnus who stopped by to say hello and ask me about my experience and offer help.”
Morgan Stanley hired the most interns—seven in New York City and three in London. Three students worked at Goldman Sachs in New York, two landed internships at Facebook’s headquarters, and five worked for BlackRock in San Francisco.
MBA students show off cleantech solutions
Michael Lebow, MBA 14, and engineering PhD candidate Sibel Leblebici demonstrate a heat-powered fuel cell that could help reduce the environmental impact of fracking.
In the atrium of the College of Engineering’s Sutardja Dai Hall, a screen displays real-time results as audience members text in votes on what they’d just seen on stage.
It wasn’t a Berkeley version of American Idol. The audience was voting on favorites from a spate of innovative, environmentally friendly energy technologies studied as part of Cleantech to Market (C2M), a unique collaboration of the Haas School, other UC Berkeley units, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL).
The students’ goal: figure out how to take the scientists’ work out of the lab and into commercial markets. Launched as a pilot program in 2008, C2M has expanded into an experiential learning course overseen by the Energy Institute at Haas.
“C2M was one of the key reasons I came to Haas,” says Michael Lebow, MBA 14. “The Bay Area has an incredibly strong cleantech scene, and Cleantech to Market offers a hands-on opportunity to get involved.”
Lebow’s team was charged with finding new applications for an emerging technology known as a rugged metal-supported solid oxide fuel cell. After analyzing 13 markets—from backpacking to remote communication towers—the team concluded the most promising one relates to powering natural gas well equipment during hydraulic fracturing to help prevent the escape of methane gas.
Says Lebow, “We believe that if we eliminate the venting and the flaring nationwide, it’s the equivalent of taking two million cars off the road per year.”